Rastas turn to COVID-19 vaccine - Convinced after brethren’s fight with virus

November 15, 2021
Persons wait their turn to get doses of COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination blitz in Port Royal, Kingston, last Saturday.
Persons wait their turn to get doses of COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination blitz in Port Royal, Kingston, last Saturday.

Four Rastafarian men who previously opposed the idea of vaccination against the novel coronavirus turned up last Saturday to receive their shots at a vaccination blitz in Port Royal, Kingston.

The men were convinced to take the jab after seeing first-hand the impact that the virus had on one of their brethren. David Walker, 41, said he had suffered excruciating pain for a couple of weeks when he contracted the virus after getting his first jab months ago.

"I got a lot of head and body pain. I was always hungry, thirsty and dehydrated. I always wanted to take my rest. Right now dem see say it real because of what happened to me and mi is a community man. Everybody did a say 'Lukie ketch it and it a deal wid him a way'," he said. The labourer, who is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after getting his second shot on Saturday, told THE STAR that he posted his ordeal on Instagram.

"I took my first shot and it [COVID] deal wid me like that. I showed them [his followers] how it bump mi up and thing. Nuff people commended me and nuff a my friend dem a work who see weh mi go through decide fi go tek it. Dem decide fi tek di Johnson and Johnson because dem cyah bother wid the two shot thing... ," he said.

Walker was one of 115 Port Royal residents who turned up at the vaccination drive. Although initially hesitant, one of his Rastafarian brethren said that the fear of contracting the virus and getting seriously ill led him to change his mind.

"Mi see how it a deal wid people from wah day... and mi get fi understand say it is not a joke thing and the best way to really prevent certain things like hospitalisation and even death, certain way, is to take the vaccine. When mi see how Lukie tek fi him first shot and still catch it, mi look into myself and say maybe him would a end up dead if him never get the first dose," he said.

Retired soldier Captain Peter Gordon, who was working closely with the Port Authority of Jamaica to get Port Royal residents to get vaccinated, said that this willingness from members of the Rastafarian community could be the catalyst that sees a significant increase in persons taking the vaccine.

"We all know the mentality of some Rastafarian men so to see them here was not only a big encouragement, but was also very shocking," he said. Walker is pleading with persons to take the virus more seriously.

"Right now mi just wah tell di others to don't lean on yuh own understanding and see dah phone thing deh, don't mek it decide fi yuh. Tru phone, now everybody a say all sort of different things and a spread it, so people start get confuse," he said.

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